Lena wrap dress Simple Sew

Winter… my nemesis! It really feels like we’re galloping through Autumn and Winter is here. To prepare I’ve made a few snuggly clothes to help keep the chill off. I am unbelievably cold all the time and often have my little desk heater on at work. I’m pretty wimpy I know.

Almond rock Lena wrap dress love sewing simple sew patterns sewbrum sewing Weekender Ponte Roma double knit surplice dress jersey sewing

Today I’m sharing the Lena wrap dress by Simple Sew patterns. It came free with Love Sewing 35 but is also available here. The surplice bodice is lined and fits into a waistband, then there’s a flared skirt with hem band. These are the 3/4 sleeves from the pack but the wrist length would maybe have been better for me.

The fabric I used for this dress is a lovely double knit of mysterious mix that I got from Charlotte, and that she got from Barry’s of Birmingham. She made a Coco dress by Tilly and The Buttons which is linked here. She donated it to a sewing swap table and I happily took it home! It was a pretty big piece so thank you Charlotte!!

Almond rock Lena wrap dress love sewing simple sew patterns sewbrum sewing Weekender Ponte Roma double knit surplice dress jersey sewing

This dress is extra cosy because I lined the bodice in self fabric which is a little bulky but warmth wins over bulk. And I made the hem band in self fabric and I don’t mind the seam at all even though it would be more effective in a contrast colour or print.

Almond rock Lena wrap dress love sewing simple sew patterns sewbrum sewing Weekender Ponte Roma double knit surplice dress jersey sewing

I made the size 10 but should have sized down. Not long before I started the dress I’d been burned by trying to make a size 8 version in low stretch fabric and then over-compensated here. You know how things grow with wear and shrink after a good hot wash in a never-ending circle. On the second wear, the sleeves end up pretty big and I sometimes wear a cami top in case the bodice falls open. Oh well.

Almond rock Lena wrap dress love sewing simple sew patterns sewbrum sewing Weekender Ponte Roma double knit surplice dress jersey sewing

I used a zigzag stitch and my overlocker for construction and I’m super pleased how it’s holding up inside. The skirt is fabulously twirly for a jersey dress and i feel very smart when I wear it. All in all, a big thumbs up. I should really make another! This one has wonderful memories of this girl band inspired photo shoot we tried at the studio last year. So moody I love it.

Almond rock Lena wrap dress love sewing simple sew patterns sewbrum sewing Weekender Ponte Roma double knit surplice dress jersey sewing

Here are three lovely versions to check out next: this floral beauty from Giorgia, Harriet looking pretty in pink and Gabby looking lush in velvet!

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Blooming heart embroidery

Okay so I know I’m the queen of delayed blogging with a whopping 50+ unblogged makes but I realised I never blogged this heart embroidery and it turned out so sweet that I wanted to share it. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll have seen my embroidery posts and I have a story highlight so you can see my most recent pieces but this was one of the my VERY EARLY attempts at embroidery and helped me perfect some of the basic stitches.

Almond rock hand embroidery hoop art oh sew bootiful

It’s a pattern download from Oh Sew Bootiful which you can get here. After trying two of their kits where pre-printed fabric, a crazy amount of thread and very clear instructions are all packaged up for you, I wanted to see if I could work out good colour combinations on my own and practice transferring the design onto the fabric myself.

Almond rock hand embroidery hoop art oh sew bootiful

The benefit of a PDF pattern is that you can resize it to fit your ideal hoop or if you’re short on hoops, make it work for whatever you have to hand. I like to use a frixion pen and a window as a light source when tracing. A couple of pins hold the paper and fabric layers together and any mistakes can be rubbed away with the rubber on the end of the frixion pen. I got mine as a Christmas present but have seen them in lots of stationary sections of shops.

Almond rock hand embroidery hoop art oh sew bootiful

This design really makes you practice French knots (I like to do a double curl around the needle), lazy daisy (worked best when I remember to rotate my hoop as I go) and pinwheel roses (magic stuff).

Almond rock hand embroidery hoop art oh sew bootiful

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Wild roses Vogue 8469

A fresh faced sewing enthusiast called Amy made her first version of Vogue 8469 back in 2013 and said, “oh yes this is lovely I better make it again”. She used £1 a metre polyester she found in Leeds Market and wore it to one of her first sewing meet-ups in London – the epic V&A event.

Almond rock vogue 8469 vintage retro sewing roses pattern

Flash forward to 2016! The new version is again made out of £1 a metre polyester, but this time from Birmingham Rag market. This amazingly versatile dress has lived in the back of my wardrobe only occaisonally getting worn because I slightly messed up the gathers on one side of the bust, and my zipper installation wasn’t very neat. What I discovered during Me Made May this year, is that it really doesn’t matter! You can’t see either of those things when I wear the dress so I should blumming well get it out the cupboard more often.

Almond rock vogue 8469 vintage retro sewing roses pattern

This dress is great if you’re a large or small busted lady in comparison to your waist and hip size as you can adjust for your bust easily; simply slash and then add or subtract the space you need and then draw the fabric under the bust neatly.

Almond rock vogue 8469 vintage retro sewing roses pattern

The skirt is more tulip shaped than you might think, a change from my super flared skirts. It’s still gathered making it easy to fit through the hip. The bodice, waistband and sleeves are lined and I used my trusty tutorial for clean finishing the sleeves into the lining. I skipped the sleeve elastic again as you can see.

Almond rock vogue 8469 vintage retro sewing roses pattern

The centre sewn zip is what we all learn early on, stitched down each side to secure the zip and create a little flap to cover each side… but this is the hardest zip to achieve a neat finish for me. The zipper always peeps through and the sides aren’t even! The supposedly harder invisible and lapped zippers are much nicer in my book. Am I wrong?

Almond rock vogue 8469 vintage retro sewing roses pattern

I wear this dress with the bow tied at the front most days but occasionally swing it to the back. It’s a great number to wear with red lipstick and dangly earrings for dinner out, or ballet flats and curly hair for a vintage day look.

Almond rock vogue 8469 vintage retro sewing roses pattern

It was great to teach myself, just because you messed something up doesn’t mean you can’t still love it. The annoying perfectionist in me shuts up while I wear this so that’s a win right?!

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Watercolour Sutton blouse

Hello everyone! Things are returning back to normal and I’m pleased I’ve had time to write blog posts here and there. I’ve got to write up about my honeymoon wardrobe but maybe that will be a fun activity when the inevitable crap weather arrives. It’s already gone pretty chilly so I’m trying to plan winter garments (something I’m rubbish at). I also made sure to sign myself up to the 2019 Dressmaker’s Ball! It was such a blast last time, I had to get in on the fun again! Will I see you there?

almond rock sutton blouse true bias indie patterns croft mill polyester

So what am I sharing today? I made another version of the Sutton blouse by True Bias. Again, without the centre front seam and self made bias binding for that lovely inside finish.

I think this will be my last but I’m still happy with how this great little scrap buster turned out. The shoulder yoke means you can get the pattern out of short length of 60″ wide fabric, because the front and back bodices are much shorter. I wore this top a lot on honeymoon as it was breezy but still pretty, but it’s important (for me) to wear a camsiole underneath where possible as one lean over and you can see everything down the front. Ooh la la!

almond rock sutton blouse true bias indie patterns croft mill polyester

Polyester like this watercolour print, can be prone to snag so I always use a sharp needle around size 70. Static cling will always be a risk, but that  camsiole top underneath will help with that too. French seams are great for the yoke seams but those pesky side splits and drop hem mean overlocking and pressing open your seams is needed. That lower hem is great bum coverage though!

almond rock sutton blouse true bias indie patterns croft mill polyester

I love the colours in this 100% polyester print; teal, brick and blush. It’s from Croft Mill and is slightly sheer but with a good handle and weight. It didn’t shrink in the wash and I took care not to put a hot iron near it, using a pressing cloth where needed. Staystitching that neckline is a must by the way, as it’s quite open and would surely stretch out just by looking at it wrong if you didn’t haha.

almond rock sutton blouse true bias indie patterns croft mill polyester

If I look a little delirious in these photos, they were taken at the end of a crazily long shoot day with what felt like a thousand props to pack away at the end of the day. Some days all I want to do after photoshoots is get in the bath, then get my jammies on and then go straight to sleep. I think I need to build up my stamina!

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Deer and Doe Luzerne Trench

Hello again ladies and gents! Hope you’re all enjoying #sewphotohop and fingers crossed you’ve been following my posts throughout September. I’m currently struggling to find time to sew for myself, which is killing me. I have a free afternoon on Sunday and some yummy fabric from So Sew English, so wish me luck!! How about starting the evening with a project review?

Almond rock, Deer and Doe, fabworks, Luzerne trench, Mac, coat making

Meet my Luzerne trench coat. Do you ever really truly hate a project but keep going?? This is rare for me. I normally stuff UFOs out of sight but I think because I didn’t want to get this jacket too rumpled (hahah this sentence will be extra ironic as you read on) it always stayed in my eye line. I’ve been dipping into it every few months to get it finished. Given that I started this make in May, LAST YEAR, I’m amazed it’s finally done.

Almond rock, Deer and Doe, fabworks, Luzerne trench, Mac, coat making

So why do I hate it? Let’s get started. The fit of this jacket was really hard to work out for my lifestyle. The amount of ease needed for wearing the trench with a jumper leaves it baggy without one underneath… and I like cardigans which create a hollow at the centre front and lumpy areas at the bust. Having the bust look especially rumpled really grates because I love a great fit in my torso. This is my own fault for trying to sew a relaxed coat when I’m not that kind of dresser. I like fitted clothes so what made me think I’d like a loose fit mac?!

Almond rock, Deer and Doe, fabworks, Luzerne trench, Mac, coat making

The shape of the collar is also infuriating. It has this weird step that looks out of place to my eye. Its not a stand collar and it’s not a notch collar! What are you!?! Again this is my own issue, you may love this touch. Maybe you never even noticed… it looks so nice on other people’s versions.

Almond rock, Deer and Doe, fabworks, Luzerne trench, Mac, coat making

Don’t get me wrong… There are a lot of great details. Those lovely pocket edges, the button tabs, curved back yoke, and well fitting sleeves but why oh why didn’t I ignore the pattern and make a longer tie belt!?

Almond rock, Deer and Doe, fabworks, Luzerne trench, Mac, coat making

I know it’s a nice make but all I see is the creases and fit issues. I’m going to try and wear it more this Autumn with extra layers underneath to see if we can get on.

Almond rock, Deer and Doe, fabworks, Luzerne trench, Mac, coat making

I used a lovely magenta organic twill from Fabworks which comes in a lot of colours. It’s the perfect weight but has a little bit of stretch which didn’t help my ease issues. And I made metres and metres of bias binding from a scrap piece of Wiltshire Liberty tana lawn. Binding everything takes a loooong time but creates a fun inside.

Almond rock, Deer and Doe, fabworks, Luzerne trench, Mac, coat making

The pdf pattern arrives in multiple sizes and with separate English instructions – it in fact goes up to a phenomenal plus size range in PDF so bravo to the team. They’re fairly detailed but you may need extra help if you’ve never tried bound buttonholes or sewn a collar before. I made a size 38 without a toile because that is my size in D&D patterns but would definitely size down in future. If you can, buy the paper pattern for this one as it’s a LOT of pages to stick together.

Okay I’ve waffled on enough. For other gorgeous versions from the sewing community check out Sleepless into Bavaria who has made not one but TWO spotty macs, Allie J who clearly got her sizing just right and Stay Junique in her sassy red version.

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